The issues of stability and base assignment came up during Friday's presentation of Wake County's new student assignment plan to the Raleigh Regional Association of Realtors.
As noted in today's article, school administrators touted how the new plan will allow real estate agents to assure families that they will no longer have to worry about student reassignment. But the real-estate agents were concerned about how the loss of base assignments would impact their ability to sell homes.
“This is a hard reset and mental adjustment to make,” said Susan Pullium, a member of Wake’s student assignment task force. “There’s no longer base assignments.”
Pullium said providing stability means needing to retain control of seats and ending base assignments. This means in cases where a school is too full, they'll have to give applicants their second choice.
But Pullium also said earlier in the presentation that they're using transitional capacities. This means they'll accept levels of higher overcrowding over the next few years caused by grandfathering. She said they'll only hold the new kindergarten class to the new capacity standards as they over time reduce crowding.
Pullium also said that retaining "control of seats" is why families who get accepted into a school lose their old seat. She told the crowd they'll need to stress that to their clients when they make their choices.
"You should only apply to something that's better than what you have or is preferable to what you have," Pullium said.
Pullium was really pushing the stability issue as a selling point for the new plan.
“You know where you will be for the next 12-13 years,” Pullium said. “They’re now ready to get into the school culture. They don’t have to worry they’re going to be reassigned.”
School officials are working hard to get buy-in from the real estate agents as they're the ones who will be explaining it to new families moving into the district. For instance, Superintendent Tony Tata told the crowd that, based on how choice plans have been introduced in other districts, the new assignment plan should improve home values.
To help real estate agents and parents, Wake will make it possible to enter a school’s name online and see which addresses include that school as an option.
“If there’s any group that needs to understand and market this, it’s this group,” Tata said.